NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This email came from a friend Ol' Myrt here met back in the old Q-Link days (the grandfather of AOL). A good ten years before begining to write as DearMYRTLE, I joined that group in the winter of 1984/1985. That is coming up on 25 years. WOW! Time flies when you're having fun.
From: "Rags" email@example.com
How does one deal with a question from a distant relative, or from anybody, really, who is just getting interested in genealogy that asks, "send me all of your information?" They are not asking for my personal information. They are asking me to send them the results of many hours of research that I have done that includes but is not limited to time, money, interest, diligence, curiosity, and such that got me the information I sought. Sometimes folks will offer to pay me for copying my research, but how do you put a monetary figure on such time spent gathering the information? I am not in genealogy for the money, frankly, and prefer not to sell anything.
During my ongoing family research, I never, ever, asked anybody to "give me all of their research." I don't mind sharing information with friends or family or anybody, for that matter (the keyword being, "share"). But, I am at a loss on how to handle the "send me everything" request. I could, of course, simply ignore the request, or I could simply say "no!". But, these folks are young relatives that thankfully are somewhat interested in genealogy, and I don't wish to discourage that.
What a dilemma!
I’d tell them that the compiled genealogy takes up 15 file cabinet drawers. See if they go for it.
Seriously, I understand that the youngsters are new to the game. How about agreeing to send them a GEDCOM file?
From: "Rags" firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a strange contact, not having heard from this branch since about 1988. I had shared most of what I had with this lady's Mom & Dad back then.
So, I asked her what specifically she wanted to know beyond what I had already shared with her mother had (her Dad passed in 1990) and sent her an invitation to visit my page on MyFamily.com where she could at least look at my family tree. I never received a reply, although she did visit the MyFamily.com page. So, the cousins have re-disappeared as quickly as they re-appeared.
It is understandable that some people only have a passing interest in family history. (Though I can hardly believe it!) I like your idea about giving them access to pages you've already created on the net.
Since my initial somewhat flip reply, I’ve given some thought about how to interest these non-genies and still share the wonderful things we’ve learned about our common ancestors.
A GEDCOM file certainly won't help newbies if they don't know to import it into genealogy software.
WHY NOT GIVE THEM A “SHARABLE CD” easily created in RootsMagic? The process takes less than two minutes to set up, and a few more for the info to be burned on a CD from within the program. The CD opening screen from one I created is show above.
The resulting CD will include a viewable (not editable) copy of your genealogy database AND
attached media files for a CD that will run without the recipient having a copy of the RootsMagic software. You may wish to exclude living individuals, but the software explains how to do this.
With a RootsMagic Sharable CD, those distant relatives can enjoy climbing the family tree in pedigree or family group sheet format, read each ancestor's biographical notes, observe source citations and view the photos and scanned images you’ve included.
I think this fits the bill since you want to share without going to a great deal of additional effort or expense.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.
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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.